chapter
What is sustainability?
ByKatie Kross
Pages 6

There are a host of buzzwords associated with this term ''sustainability'' and, confusingly, it often means different things to different companies and individuals. But, fundamentally, sustainability is the concept that organizations can approach social and environmental challenges as business opportunities. When it comes to business applications, the term "sustainability" is often used as a broad umbrella that encompasses a host of social and environmental impact issues — both external and internal to the company. Sometimes, sustainability is summed up as management of the "triple bottom line": financial profitability, environmental responsibility, and social equity. There are thousands of different ways social and environmental issues intersect with the private sector, and new sustainability applications and industries are arising every day — in big and small companies, for-profit and nonprofit organizations. The ideas behind corporate sustainability have been around for some time, but the practice really began gaining ground in the 1990s.